From the Editor

Traditional healers formalised?

JP van Niekerk


Traditional healers are the first to be called for help when illness strikes the majority of South Africans. Their communities have faith in their ability to cure or alleviate conditions managed by doctors, and much more. A visit to such practitioners’ websites (they are up with the latest advertising technology!) shows that they promise help with providing more power, love, security or money, protection from evil people and spirits, enhancing one’s sex life with penis enlargement and vagina tightening spells, etc. Contemplating such claims, it is easy to be dismissive of traditional healers. But in this issue of the SAMJ Nompumelelo Mbatha and colleagues1 argue that the traditional healers’ regulatory council, promised by an Act of Parliament, should be established, followed by (or preferably preceded by) formal recognition by employers of sick certificates issued by traditional healers. Can matters be so simply resolved? What does this mean for doctors and other formally recognised healthcare professionals, and how to respond to such claims and social pressures?

Author's affiliations

JP van Niekerk, Health & Medical Publishing Group, South Africa

Full Text



Traditional healers; Domains of truth

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(3):105-106.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-02-06
Date published: 2012-02-23

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